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Insurance Scheme for workers engaged in sand mining in Mahaweli River

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Accordingly, in the event of the death of a sand mining worker, the amount of insurance currently proposed is Rs.550, 000. But, Minister instructed that steps be taken to increase it to the Rs.01 million. It was also proposed to provide Rs. 550,000 in case of temporary disability and Rs. 1,000,000 in case of permanent disability and infectious diseases including Covid 19.

Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera announced the programme at a meeting participated by Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Environment, officials from GSMB Technical Services, officials of the Ministry of Environment and the Manampitiya Weli Mankada owners and the Tipper Drivers’ Association..

During the discussion, the Minister explained the current situation of the sand mining workers. Their flesh on the hands and feet of many of them is melting. They also have large lumps on the back and head caused by spraying sandbags. Some have fallen and broken limbs. Also, some people have lost limbs due to crocodile bites.

When sand miners die, those families are completely devastated. Taking these factors into consideration, it was decided to provide a number of reliefs to the workers the Minister said. These benefits are provided by an insurance scheme and the cost is borne by GSMB Technical Services without any government funding.

Also, if a child of such a worker passes the Year 5 Scholarship, GCE Ordinary Level and Advanced Level examinations, he / she will be given a scholarship of Rs5000 until their education. It has also been decided to construct two houses worth Rs. 1.5 million annually workers who were working with GSMB Technical Services in long period.

In the event of the death of a relative of the workers, Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 15,000 will be paid for the funeral and Rs.2000 worth dry food pack monthly and to start medical clinics for these workers twice a month.

Under the first phase, priority will be given to GSMB Technical Services workers engaged in sand mining in the Mahaweli River. Workers working with other private companies will then be consulted and worked out a plan. The Minister said that no such relief had been provided to sand mining workers before and that this was the first time such an insurance scheme had been introduced.

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